I spent a little time looking at the results of my two recent races, the Aquathon and the Lake Mills Triathlon and one thing stood out: I need help on the swim. I've come a long way, but I'm giving up way too much time on the swim and I can't do it all on my own.
Here are the Aquathon results. I out ran places 5-8, but couldn't catch them because I gave them too much time on the swim.
Again at Lake Mills, I gave up too much time in the water.
So tonight I started working with Mark at SWIMfast Madison. I'm skeptical of paying for coaching because I always think I can figure it out myself and that I'm going to pay a coach a lot of money and get little in return. That's not the case with Mark. Not at all.
Right now I'm doing 4 private swim lessons and I had my first one tonight. It was a 30 minute class and he gave me tons of good stuff to work on. I'm really glad I finally decided to start working with a coach on my swimming. I learned a ton. Here are some of my good points...
- I have good rotation
- I have a swimmer's body - tall, lean, long arms
- My right arm has a good catch/pull
Now for the stuff I need to work on...
- My left arm - I tend to pull in toward my body instead of out and then back in (like the number 9)
- My head is too low (when I started it was too high so I over-corrected) - I need to look forward slightly - I'm dropping my head and creating drag
- I start breathing too late in the stroke
- I breathe too often - every other stroke - it works against me
- I look back when I breathe - I should look to the side or slightly ahead
- I need to angle my palms slightly out
- I need to work on the timing of my stroke (front quadrant swimming) - I need to glide more
- I'm using my legs too much - wasting energy (maybe this is why my power was a little low on the bike)
And that's just lesson 1 (notice which list was longer?). Mark is going to send me some workouts, and I'll be doing a lot of one arm drills so I can fix the problems with my left arm - and this should fix the shoulder pain I've been having. I'm really pumped about this lesson. I've got some good stuff to work on and I think it's going to help get me to the next level with my swimming. Mark was great (and one of his clients was the first one out of the water at Lake Mills and he's worked with the overall winner - not too shabby). I can tell he's really into the local triathlon scene and he was really cool. I really enjoyed working with him.
So if you're struggling with your swimming, suck it up and pay a coach - I recommend Mark. You can only do so much on your own.
Cheri's working on getting her cycling legs back for the Danskin triathlon in July, so I took her out for a hard 20 mile ride last night. It was really windy, but luckily the route we had planned was an out and back that had us biking into the wind for the first 10 miles. It was tough, and kind of slow, but the way back was fast and really fun. For 19 miles Cheri hung on my wheel, and then I flicked my elbow and told her to take over and give it everything she has....and holy smokes....we averaged 24.2 mph for that last mile. Wow. Overall, we averaged 19.3 mph for the ride, which I wasn't sure she could do right now since she doesn't have that many miles in this year. I am thoroughly impressed. A few more hard rides and I think she's going to have a great bike leg at the Danskin. I gave her my old aerobars so those should help too.
Fixie update: Toby/Mark - you guys will be happy to know my Madison is still a fixie and I'm starting to like it. It's a great workout. But now I need to customize the Madison a bit. I'm thinking I'm going to flip my handlebars upside down and cut them off so they're bullhorns. Then I'll lose the rear brake and go with a front one only. Maybe some white bar wrap...chrome bottle cage...I'll post pictures...
Note to Charter: the bill came so I have a deal for you. Fix my Internet, and I'll pay my bill. Until then....